Statter911 http://www.statter911.com Fire Videos, Firefighter & Fire Department News Sun, 23 Nov 2014 21:26:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Marion Barry and the DC Fire Department http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/23/marion-barry-dc-fire-department/ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/23/marion-barry-dc-fire-department/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 21:26:27 +0000 http://www.statter911.com/?p=83458 The inside story of "Teddy's Ice Capades"

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Thanks to my late cousin David Levy, I knew the name Marion Barry long before I even thought of becoming a reporter. In the mid-1960s, when I was about 10-years-old, David was a lawyer who worked with Barry on a number of causes. They were even arrested together by DC police on what was then called a “move on” charge.

So, I already had heard many interesting Marion Barry stories by the early 1980s when I began working as a reporter for WTOP Radio and then Channel 9.  While my beat wasn’t DC politics and the District Building, my focus on the DC Fire Department and its many problems brought lots of occasions where the mayor stepped in to attempt damage control. On the news of Marion Barry’s passing I thought I would share a couple of stories about Barry’s relationship with DCFD.

DC Reserve truck mid 1990s

The problems back then for DCFD where very similar to what the department faced under the current administration of Mayor Vincent Gray and his fire chief Kenneth Ellerbe (Ellerbe left during the summer after three years). These included a run down fleet, inadequate repair shop, staffing issues and a lack of confidence by the public in the department’s ability to handle EMS.

The big difference between then and now was that the city didn’t have much money in the 1980s and 90s. More recently the problems were created not by a shortage of funds, but by the political agendas of Gray, Ellerbe and public safety director Paul Quander. Not that there weren’t political motives at play in some of the neglect the fire department suffered under Barry.

By far, my favorite story of that era is the one you can watch at the top of this page. It involved what I believe to be among the strangest orders a fire chief has ever given to his firefighters. The incident was sometimes called  “Teddy’s Ice Capades”. “Teddy” was Theodore Coleman who was DCFD chief from 1983-1988. Chief Coleman passed away last month at age 87.

On Sunday, February 8, 1987, after driving by some firehouses in Southeast Washington following a snowstorm, Chief Coleman didn’t like what he saw. The chief gave the order for firefighters to pull out the shovels and get to work. Who can blame a fire chief for acting that way if the firehouse ramps and sidewalks were still snow covered?

DC Ice Capades 2-8-87

The problem is they weren’t. All the walkways and aprons had been shoveled and were clean. What Chief Coleman didn’t like was that there was snow on the grass of these fire stations. Asked what to do with it, company officers were told by the chief to shovel it into the streets.

The firefighters not only obliged their chief, they were thoughtful enough to call me in order to get publicity for Chief Coleman’s firehouse beautification project.

Not long after videographer Sheldon Levy shot video of snow being shoveled into the streets, my phone rang again. This time a familiar voice on the other end said, “Dave, this is the mayor”.

Marion Barry had never called me before, so I was somewhat surprised. He really only had one question: “You’re not really going to run a silly story about firemen shoveling snow into the streets, are you?”

I answered, “Mr. Mayor what do you think? Of course I am, it’s a great story”.

DC Barry shovels snow 1 2-8-87

The mayor paused for a minute. To his credit, Marion Barry knew I was right, so he didn’t even try to talk me out of the story. But he did tell me to make sure I got a photographer down to the firehouse on Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast in the next half-hour. Not sure exactly what was up, I quickly sent Sheldon to rush over to Engine 19. Sheldon arrived to find firefighters and Mayor Marion Barry shoveling the snow out of the street and back onto the grass where it belonged.

Despite Barry’s really smart efforts to put this to bed Sunday night, the bizarre nature of the story was so intriguing that other news organizations were interested in it on Monday. As I recall, Barry and Chief Coleman already had an unrelated event scheduled at a Southeast fire house. There, the mayor not only defended his fire chief, but blamed the mess on the firefighters.

Fast forward almost a decade to Marion Barry’s last term as mayor. The fire chief was Otis Latin. This time the issue wasn’t something that you could easily blame on firefighters. The department’s infrastructure was crumbling. DC was broke and under the supervision of the Financial Control Board.

I had been doing many stories about firehouses where raw sewage was running freely and apparatus that was breaking down. There were days when there were only three ladder trucks available for the entire city. On one of those days I spotted one of the operating truck companies taking up from a house fire two blocks north of where Nationals Park is now located.  I have to admit I was shocked when I saw the tillerman climb onto the reserve rig and sit down on a hard plastic chair that looked like it had come from the firehouse kitchen.

DC Barry at E 20 3

In the video above, Mayor Barry tried to deal with some of these issues plaguing the department. The mayor had the news media meet him at the quarters of Engine 20 in Tenleytown. We got to see some of the dilapidated conditions of the firehouse and the apparatus, including Truck 12 (which was bad, but not as bad as the one missing the tiller seat). As you will see in the video, one reporter, thanks to a friendly firefighter, went off the guided tour a bit and found his way into the basement and discovered a problem Barry hadn’t mentioned. Need to keep an eye on those pesky reporters.

Don’t for a moment think that Marion Barry was only the figure who became the butt of jokes on the late night talk shows after his 1990 arrest. While there were a lot of flaws that made headlines, Barry, in his prime, was a fascinating and cunning political leader who always made covering news in Washington very interesting.

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Emergency radio traffic: Police & firefighters ambushed in FL after house set on fire http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/23/emergency-radio-traffic-police-fire-ambushed-fl-house-set-fire/ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/23/emergency-radio-traffic-police-fire-ambushed-fl-house-set-fire/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 14:36:12 +0000 http://www.statter911.com/?p=83453 Leon County Sheriff's deputy killed Saturday in Tallahassee

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Audio posted by firefighterdispatch and Broadcastify.com.

Leon County Sheriff’s Office:

At 10:15 a.m. on November 22, 2014, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Tallahassee Police Department and the Tallahassee Fire Department responded to a house fire at 3722 Caracus Court. As the deputies arrived on scene first, the suspect launched an armed ambush attack. Onedeputy was immediately shot and killed. The other deputy engaged the suspect and was shot also.

The suspect took the fallen deputy’s firearm and began walking North on Caracus Court actively shooting at the first responders as they arrived on the scene.

Responders from the Tallahassee Fire Department were also shot at by the suspect as they arrived to fight the fire. Tallahassee Police Officers responded to the area and engaged the suspect, shooting him and killing him.

FL Tallahassee ambush 3 11-23-14

Karl Etters, Tallahasse Democrat:

In a light rain amid wafting smoke from a house fire in northwest Tallahassee on Saturday, emergency responders tried to piece together the events that led to the shooting death of a Leon County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

LCSO officials say the deputy was ambushed and killed by a gunman while responding to the fire at 3722 Caracus Court in the Plantation Woods neighborhood around 10:15 a.m. A second deputy was shot and injured before the man was shot and killed by Tallahassee Police Department officers who provided assistance.

The name of the slain deputy was not released Saturday. More details about the shooter and the incident are expected at a press conference at noon Sunday.

FL Tallahassee ambush 2 11-23-14

 

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Early video & radio traffic from 4th-alarm in Brooklyn http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/22/early-video-fdny-4th-alarm-brooklyn/ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/22/early-video-fdny-4th-alarm-brooklyn/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 02:51:53 +0000 http://www.statter911.com/?p=83445 Five firefighters with minor injuries - 4 homes damaged

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Early video from The NYC Buff as FDNY deals with a fire today (Saturday) that spread to four homes in Brooklyn and went to four-alarms. Radio traffic below posted by 10-75 The Box!.

WPIX-TV:

More than 30 people have been displaced after a 4-alarm fire ripped through several homes in Brooklyn.

Firefighters were called to 85 Hemlock St.  around 2:30 p.m., Saturday afternoon in the Cypress Hills section of the borough.

The fire started on the first floor of the home but quickly spread to three other homes.

1010 WINS Radio:

Assistant Fire Chief James Daly told 1010 WINS firefighters observed heavy fire and smoke when they got to the scene.

NY Brooklyn 4th alarm 1 11-22-14

The fire spread from the area above the ceiling of the building’s top floor to two adjoining buildings on its left, Daly said. Four homes were damaged in the fire.

Daly said five firefighters sustained minor injuries, but no civilians were injured.

“So a job well done,” Daly said.

NY Brooklyn 4th alarm 2 11-22-14

NY Brooklyn 4th alarm 3 11-22-14

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Early video of Murphysboro, IL fire http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/22/early-video-murphysboro-il-fire/ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/22/early-video-murphysboro-il-fire/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 14:05:20 +0000 http://www.statter911.com/?p=83441 Fire early Saturday

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Early video from Brian Manwaring of a house fire today (Saturday) in Murphysboro, Illinois. No further information.

IL Murphysboro house fire 1

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November 22, 1994 http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/22/november-22-1994/ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/22/november-22-1994/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 06:48:31 +0000 http://www.statter911.com/?p=83429 The ambush at DC police headquarters

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Click here if the video above fails to play

On this day 20-years-ago, a police sergeant and two FBI agents were shot and killed inside the cold case squad offices on the third floor of the Metropolitan Police Department’s headquarters building in Washington, DC. A third FBI agent was critically wounded and almost died. The man who opened fire on them was also killed from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A handful of reporters, including me, were also on the third floor, at a press conference, oblivious to the tragedy unfolding down the hall and around the corner. The building, 300 Indiana Avenue, is a dreary old government building with thick concrete walls. There were two sets of doors between the room where the press conference was being held and the hallway. None of us heard the gunshots.

What we did hear that caught our interest were sirens. Lots of them. We could see out the windows on the west side of the building that a steady stream of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances were coming toward us. While the press conference continued, I walked toward those doors where I could see a lot of movement in the hallway. I motioned to videographer Bill McKnight to join me. We didn’t get very far. A police officer walking in the opposite direction met us between the two sets of doors. He told us to stay put, there had been a shooting down the hall.

I had left my cell phone in the car and immediately focused on the one phone I saw on the wall of the room. Using it, I let the newsroom at Channel 9 know what was going on. They were also hearing bits and pieces of information from police radio traffic.

A young officer from the public information office manning the door then told us the shooting was in the cold case squad and that police officers had been shot. Knowing a few of the homicide detectives assigned to that unit I asked if he knew who the wounded police officers were. He said all he knew is it was that older, gray haired sergeant who worked in cold case. A chill went through me.

DC police HQ ambush

It was clear to me he was describing Sergeant Henry “Hank” Daly. Hank was a veteran detective I had known since shortly after starting at the TV station nine years earlier. We had been introduced by my friend Mike Buchanan, a legendary reporter and anchor who helped get me hired at Channel 9.

Hank was one of those cops reporters called regularly for information about homicides and other news from inside DC’s police department. On a number of occasions I would run into Hank and his buddy Lt. Charlie Bailey at one of a number of bars in DC.

I always enjoyed Hank’s war stories and insight and he always seemed to leave this relatively new reporter on the beat a little bit smarter. A good example was an evening at the River Club in Georgetown. Sitting at the bar with Hank and Charlie, a woman who knew me walked up to say hello. We chatted briefly. When she walked away Hank looked up from his drink, raised an eyebrow and asked, “You know her?” I said, “Yes, she’s my neighbor.” Hank then informed me she also was the wife of a lieutenant to a well known organized crime figure in DC. Clearly a good piece of information to know.

I saw Hank for the last time from the third floor window as he was being carried on a Reeves stretcher to the U.S. Park Police Eagle helicopter that had landed on the plaza between police headquarters and DC Superior Court. We could see that one of the people carrying the stretcher was Police Chief Fred Thomas.

There was a lot of bravery that day, including from some other friends of mine, Neil Trugman and Mike Brooks, who were among the officers who closed in on the cold case squad unaware of the situation inside the doors.

Probably the most remarkable stories were about FBI agents John Kuchta and Martha Dixon Martinez. Despite their wounds, the agents exchanged gunfire with the gunman, Bennie Lee Lawson. Kuchta survived, Martinez and the third FBI agent in the office, Michael Miller, did not.

The police headquarters building is now named the Sgt. Henry J. Daly Building.

I’ve posted news coverage above and below with more details about the events of that day and yesterday’s memorial service honoring the three law officers who were murdered. For a more detailed account, I urge you to read the book “S Street Rising” by former Washington Post Reporter Ruben Castaneda.

DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Click here if the video above fails to play

Paul Wagner, WTTG-TV/FOX 5:

Hundreds of people gathered inside a downtown church Friday morning to remember the three members of law enforcement murdered by a crazed gunman 20 years ago.

Family, friends and colleagues shared stories and saluted the lives of D.C. Police Detective Hank Daly and FBI agents Martha Dixon-Martinez and Michael Miller, who were killed inside the cold case squad.

To say the shooting 20 years ago was shocking would be a vast understatement. It left people speechless, horrified and baffled by the actions of a man who simply walked unchecked into D.C. police headquarters and without warning opened fire on four people trying to solve the city’s most puzzling murders.

Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church was packed Friday with family, friends and colleagues who came to pay their respects to Daly, Dixon-Martinez and Miller.

The U.S. attorney general was there along with FBI director James Comey and former FBI director Louis Freeh.

On the day of the shooting, Eric Holder was U.S. attorney, Fred Thomas was chief of police and Tony Daniels was special agent in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

“I was no stranger to death and dying,” said Thomas. “I had been on the scene of many robberies and shootings but nothing prepared me for that experience.”

Inside the packed church, Daniels also reflected on the day.

“The insanity of November 22nd, 1994 was another battle in the age old war between good and evil,” he said. “Over the course of history, good has prevailed over evil, but not without a price.”

Listening to these speeches was the one lone survivor of Bennie Lee Lawson’s rampage. John Kuchta, a pup of an agent as he described himself, was with his colleagues when Lawson opened fire with a TEC-9 handgun and was grievously wounded.

When the service let out, Kuchta and hundreds of others walked to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial for a wreath laying ceremony where the agent remembered his colleagues.

“In D.C’s darkest hour, they galvanized a city, a nation that had become desensitized to violence,” Kuchta said.

Kuchta now works in London as a liaison for the FBI and is astounded at the changes in the city.

They are changes he partly chalks up to his colleagues who died and the hard work of detectives, street cops and agents.

“It’s unrecognizable to what it was then,” he said. “I mean, it was a city under siege, it was a killing field. You know, five years or more of record murder rates. We unfortunately had the dubious distinction of the murder capital and you look at it now and it’s a place people come to live and not to die.”

When Lawson entered the building that day, he was not looking for Hank, Martha, Mike and John. He was looking for Lou.

Captain Lou Hennessy, the commander of the homicide branch, learned he was the target later that night.

“It was a couple of hours later,” Hennessy said. “We served a search warrant on his residence and found his writings. He left a note.”

But Hennessy wasn’t in the building that day. He was in law school and had taken the day off.

“It was fate,” he said. “It wasn’t meant to be. God didn’t want me that day.”

As wreaths were laid and music played, the lives of Martha, Mike and Hank were saluted once more.

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Arrival video at Joplin, MO house fire http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/21/arrival-video-joplin-mo-house-fire/ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/21/arrival-video-joplin-mo-house-fire/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 04:51:43 +0000 http://www.statter911.com/?p=83426 Fire on Range Line Road

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Arrival video from  of a house fire a week ago (November 15) on Range Line Road in Joplin, Missouri.

MO Joplin house fire 2 11-15-14

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Caught on video: Firefighters burned during training http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/21/caught-video-firefighters-burned-training/ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/21/caught-video-firefighters-burned-training/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:47:09 +0000 http://www.statter911.com/?p=83420 Fireball engulfs firefighters during drill

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More fire videos from FireCritic.com

I am not sure if this is old or new but it has been making the rounds today on YouTube and LiveLeak. No further details. Thanks to Brendan for sending it.

Training FFs burned 1

Training FFs burned 2

Training FFs burned 3

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Helmet-cam video of roof ops at PA 2-alarm fire http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/21/helmet-cam-video-roof-ops-pa-2-alarm-fire/ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/21/helmet-cam-video-roof-ops-pa-2-alarm-fire/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:06:24 +0000 http://www.statter911.com/?p=83414 Fire Sunday on West Centre Street in Shenandoah

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Helmet-cam video from ribsyj showing roof operations at Sunday’s two-alarm fire in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania (Schuylkill County).

Frank Andruscavage, Republican Herald:

Fire destroyed two homes and an apartment building and damaged two other structures in the 500 block of West Centre Street Sunday afternoon, leaving 21 people homeless.

Just before 3 p.m. firefighters were called for a working structure fire at 505 W. Centre St. They met heavy fire and smoke at the vacant three-story structure.

PA Shenandoah house fire 2 11-16-14

Flames quickly spread west to an apartment building at 507 W. Centre St. and east to a home at 503 W. Centre and caused extensive damage to both buildings.

Additionally, a home at 501 W. Centre St. had moderate damage and a home at 509 W. Centre St. minimal smoke and water damage, fire Marshal Rick Examitas said.

PA Shenandoah house fire 1 11-16-14

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Raw video from 4-alarm fire in Cliffside Park, NJ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/21/raw-video-4-alarm-fire-cliffside-park-nj/ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/21/raw-video-4-alarm-fire-cliffside-park-nj/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 06:09:13 +0000 http://www.statter911.com/?p=83409 Apartment building under construction burns & spreads to other structures

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Check out pictures of fire by Werner R. Ennesser

Video above by Mike Villanova (homer218) and video below by TheTripleC’s channel of the fire Tuesday that began in an apartment building being constructed at 223 Walker Street in Cliffside Park, New Jersey and then spread to other structures.

Stefanie Dazio & Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com:

A four-alarm fire that burned out of control for hours and destroyed an apartment complex under construction apparently was accidentally caused, authorities said Wednesday.

Photo by Werner R. Ennesser

Photo by Werner R. Ennesser

The fire started at an apartment building being constructed at 223 Walker St., the former site of the Marburn Curtains warehouse, around 5:25 p.m. and spread to nearby buildings, badly damaging a row house at 325 Palisade Avenue, authorities said. 

Two firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation and one slipped and fell, but none was sent to the hospital. 

The fire appeared to be out by 9 p.m. but rekindled at 10:30 p.m. and burned for an additional two hours.

 

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Lots of video from propane explosions & fire in Jackson, WY http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/21/lots-video-propane-explosions-fire-jackson-wy/ http://www.statter911.com/2014/11/21/lots-video-propane-explosions-fire-jackson-wy/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 05:32:58 +0000 http://www.statter911.com/?p=83406 No serious injuries

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(A special shout out to STATter911’s Jackson Hole bureau chief, cousin Harry Statter and family.)

KIDK-TV:

Fire officials are investigating the cause of an explosion and fire at AmeriGas on Gregory Lane in Jackson, Thursday afternoon.

According to county emergency officials, the explosion occurred while a propane truck was offloading around 1 p.m. The evacuation of the surrounding area was lifted around 5:40 p.m.

Fire officials at the fire say no one was seriously hurt in the accident.

A fire spread to nearby structures, and crews from various local agencies responded.

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